It’s not just ethical veksláks who use derivatives exchanges. Due to frequently changing conditions, I try to update the exchanges that support derivatives trades.
Derivative exchanges, unlike fiat exchanges, allow derivatives to be traded, most commonly perpetual swaps, options and futures with expiry. Their advantage over spot exchanges is that they do not have to be involved in the fiat system and bank transfers and allow interest to be earned (funding rate or contango/backwardation). Ethical veksláks use them to hedge the exchange rate.
Please note: This is not a U.S. centric website. I do not live in the USA and many of these projects are not accessible from USA due to U.S. regulations. Always read terms and conditions of a particular exchange in order to determine if you are allowed to use it.
Important: I do not endorse these exchanges, do your own research, it is just a list to start your own research.
Exchanges operating (so far) without KYC
At the time of writing, these exchanges are operating (often with some restrictions) without the need to prove identity. Always check the exact terms and conditions before using a given exchange – how much you can deposit, withdraw and trade and under what circumstances. Unfortunately, the terms and conditions of exchanges change frequently and what was OK at the time of adding an exchange can suddenly be a problem. If you find any inaccurate information on this page, I would be happy to be informed.
- Kwenta.io – a decentralized exchange on Optimism (Layer 2 of Ethereum) that provides perpetual swaps on BTC, ETH, but also EURUSD, gold and silver, for example. Especially the perpetual swap on eur is interesting if you need to hedge a euro position. Collateral is in sUSD (stablecoin).
- Lyra – just as Kwenta has perpetual swaps on optimism, Lyra has options, including BTC. Collateral is in sUSD (stablecoin).
- dYdX – A decentralized exchange that has a perpetual swap. Operating over the Ethereum blockchain, the perpetual swap with Bitcoin is collateralised using USDC or USDT. You don’t need an account to use this network, but you do need Ethereum in your wallet for transaction fees and USDC or USDT for collateral. Bitcoin in the perpetual swap is not represented by any token, the perpetual swap is settled in USD stablecoin.
- GMX.io – another decentralized perpetual swap exchange, this time on the Avalanche network (AVAX) and Arbitrum, both have lower fees than Ethereum. The downside is that the funding rate is paid by both parties (long and short). But you are able to trade other assets than AVAX, for example BTC against USD stablecoins, also using leverage.
- Sovryn – decentralized exchange on the bitcoin sidechain Rootstock. It does not yet have direct derivative trades, although it does allow leveraged trading, a form of derivative trading.
- CoinEx – The exchange supports perpetual swaps on Bitcoin (also with collateral in BTC). No KYC up to a daily withdrawal of 10000 USD. Perpetual swaps with USDT collateral are more varied than with coin collateral, for example also XMRUSDT. Note though, that this exchange has been recently hacked and funds stolen, so be careful (the “be careful of hacks” part applies to all exchanges!)
- Digex Futures
- Perp.fi – A decentralized derivatives exchange providing perpetual contracts on BTC and ETH with USDC collateral. I haven’t tried.
- LnMarkets – experimental exchange without KYC. You can log in with your lightning wallet or create an account. Deposits and withdrawals go through the Lightning network. So far it only supports perpetual swaps on bitcoin and short (24h) options. Beware, the exchange is custodial (which most others are too, but with the name “LnMarkets” it doesn’t look like it at first glance).
- 10101 – a lightning-based DLC-based perpetual swap exchange with your own lightning wallet. I am very bullish about this project, but it’s very beta, use at your own risk, but watch it closely. #reckless but #bullish
Exchanges with KYC
- Bitmex – the exchange that first started offering perpetual swaps. It also supports timed futures. Collateral is Bitcoin only. The exchange has displeased the U.S. government, which is trying to sanction it even though it is outside the U.S. and does not provide any products or services to U.S. customers. Under pressure, it has introduced KYC. I do not recommend risking larger sums on this exchange at the moment.
- Deribit – A great Panamanian derivatives exchange providing perpetual swaps, expiring futures and options. Unfortunately under pressure it has also introduced mandatory KYC.
- Binance Futures – a lot of futures products – both expiring and perpetual for BTC. Collateral is either in the coin itself or in USDT (more exotic coins only have the option of collateralizing USDT). The link is affiliate, it will give you a discount on the fees. The exchange has already implemented KYC.
- ByBit – supports both perpetual swaps and futures with expiration. They have products with both BTC and USDT collateral. The link is affiliate and it will give you lower fees to start with. The exchange has very good liquidity and is out of Singapore. Unfortunately, they also introduced mandatory KYC.
- OKEX – has both futures (both expiring and perpetual, and coin margined) and options (but to trade options you need to have a balance of 50k usd on the exchange, which is not exactly friendly). Unfortunately, they also introduced mandatory KYC.
- Kucoin Futures – Unfortunately, they also introduced mandatory KYC
- BitGet – has an inverse perpetual swap, a few futures with delivery, also XMRUSDT perp.
- Phemex – it’s also a spot exchange. Among derivatives it has only perpetual swaps. BTC/USD is settled in BTC, others in USD. The link is affiliate, it will give you lower fees. The exchange is from Singapore. Unfortunately, they also introduced mandatory KYC
Learn more about Bitcoin futures
Exchange crypto to crypto
Thanks to the The law of cryptocurrency isomorphism, you can easily swap between different cryptocurrencies without KYC.
I recommend the Invity search engine. You enter a request and you’ll see the different exchanges with rates and, most importantly, information on whether they require KYC even in the case of a suspicious transaction (“refunds without KYC” means that if the exchange wants KYC, you can request a refund without going through KYC). Unfortunately, Invity does not support the lightning network yet (but it does support Monero).
If you need lightning network, you can also try sideshift (they delisted Monero though) or fixedfloat (supports Monero). Another good option is the new exch.cx exchange, which looks to be quite cypherpunk and has an onion address as well for access through Tor.
Another partially decentralized swap service is called ThorSwap, but it does not support Monero nor Lightning.
More information on how to apply these lists in my book
Find more content like this in my book Cryptocurrencies – Hack your way to a better life.
It is a guide for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency ninjas. Learn how to use the Lightning network, how to accept cryptocurrencies, what opportunities there are for different professions, how to handle different market situations and how to use crypto to improve your life.